It took a pandemic…
Remember that one time the world shut down? That was terrible. One thing it did was help many of us round up our thoughts and priorities. I don’t know if you have realized this, but the pandemic actually brought out some good in our world. Hard to notice when people are suffering and losing their jobs, etc. Also, one thing I have noticed is that many businesses have adapted to the situation by becoming more efficient. How has the medical community changed?
This is the part where I introduce a mini-story to draw you in.
Just today I received an email saying that Telehealth PT is illegal now in Oklahoma. This was funny to me. I am not sure why we need too stop this or why it should be banned (even if it might be temporary). In my opinion, it serves no purpose to say “don’t do that” when it comes to Telehealth. We as a collective PT profession (not me) don’t mind people taking home our complex “DIY” workout plans (to perform wrong), but apparently we have an issue with getting online with somebody and coaching them through it. Pretty lame that we needed a pandemic to “temporarily” allow Telehealth PT. Only the best educators and explainers can survive with online physio— let them use it!.. PERMANENTLY!. Ok, I got that off of my chest.
Everything slowed down. Families are more important. Things are more efficient. You get the point. What did I discover? People were becoming more aware of the value of their time. I HAD to find a way to meet this need by changing the way PT was delivered. How did I start with this? Cut out the junk and keep in the important stuff. What does this look like?
Less boring workouts (redundant, repetitive, simplistic) and more SKILLED physical therapy.
Some people like to be coached along the way and be told everything to do. Some people either don’t like this, or don’t have time for this. Guess what else? People typically are in PT because they want to get BACK to what they love to do which usually correlates with them not wanting to WASTE TIME. So… I did the most obvious thing and pretty much decided that I was going to put the patient first and only give them what they needed. Also, this means educating them to be able to problem solve on their own. If I was a highly skilled baker (I am not), this would be the equivalent of me giving away my secret recipes instead of just selling the same cupcakes (hang with me on this analogy) over and over.
It was a horrible business model. It kind of still is. But I didn’t care.
I just finished around 3 years of post-doctoral manual therapy and fellowship education and I wanted to use my skills to the best of my ability. Also, I wanted to serve the people that didn’t have time to waste and wanted to get only what they couldn’t do on their own. I wanted to be a team member. Moreover, I wanted to be seen as a friend, not a salesperson. It was tough to do at first but my skillset and love for serving people got me through. I was seeing people about 70+% less often and getting results faster than ever — but why? People saw that what we were doing was different and THEY BOUGHT IN.
The patient was in control without feeling the burden of being the primary decision maker. I was killing it. it felt good.
Anyways. I hope that you can find a way to serve people differently. I know that if you put people first, things will work. It IS risky, and I realize that. But sometimes you have to risk it to get Master Baker, Grayson Starbuck’s, secret recipe to the biscuit. That was a lame dad joke but its all I got. Above all, I hope you enjoyed this one.